Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Liberty Center High School Drama Department Renews The Process

Hold the presses. OK yea, presses are a bit heavy...so just set them down in the corner over there.

"I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning" is being performed at 3 locations.

Per my good friends in Ohio I received this announcement: "Liberty Center Drama Department cordially invites you to the wedding of the month as Brenda and Eddie (the popular steady) are getting married....and mayhem abounds!
I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning at Liberty Center High School
 Getting Murdered In The Morning 
I had the great pleasure to visit Liberty Center Ohio last year around this time when they were in rehearsals for my play "Murder Me Always". I realize for student actors it's always a little surreal to have the person who wrote the lines you are speaking on the stage to be sitting there watching you. I have been in similar situations where the playwright sat in on rehearsals and watched as I interpreted his dialogue, trying to convey (hopefully) what he meant. I must say, most of the playwrights I have met were pretty laid back and didn't furiously take notes or scream that it was all wrong!!! Many writers, including myself have an understanding that once their ideas/words fill a page, they are gone. What we had envisioned will very rarely sound and look exactly as we imagined once it is interpreted by someone else.
I always believed if we as writers do our job correctly, directors and actors will realize the scope of any character we created. The will understand the emotion and tempo of a scene and if we are fortunate, actors will pick up the slightest nuances we etched into our words.

Of course, with Murder Mystery Comedies, most of the characters are painted in very broad strokes. I do not mind if an actor takes a character and runs in a new direction with it. Sure, it may not be what I originally imagined but it may be better than I would have thought. Much in the same way a music composer may be delighted at a jazz interpretation of his simple tune. (Tea for Two by Oscar Peterson and Lester Young for example.)

An old favorite quote of mine is "Art is the process not the product" and that holds true for many playwrights. Our art is in the process of writing - creating characters who speak and interact with each other through conflicts and finally resolve everything at the end. (sometimes)
Once we are done, we have a product called a "play". One the great things about our art is that once it is handed off, it becomes a process (art) all over again for actors. A self renewing art form.

I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning at Liberty Center High School
Liberty High School Drama department will be renewing the process of art November 13th through 15th. A close approximation of my imagination will occur at 103 W Young St, Liberty Center, OH 43532. Oh and there will be a cake and punch reception Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights at 7:30 in the Little Theatre, Liberty Center. All tickets are $8.00 and may be purchased at the door.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Upcoming Play Dead Murder Mystery Events

“I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning" is being performed in 2 locations in November. First on Thursday, November 6th at 6:00p it will appear at Holiday Inn & Suites on 3950 Walden Road in Beaumont, TX.

he interactive show, presented by the Port Arthur Little Theater, invites the audience to guess the killer’s identity. Guests are invited to wear wedding clothes. The event includes dinner and a cash bar. Tickets $60 per person, tables of 10 $650.

Proceeds benefit Southeast Texas Special Olympics athletes. For reservations, call (409) 833-1363.

The play will also be presented by Bishop McCort Catholic High School’s drama club in Johnstown Pennsylvania. The show will begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 and 15 at the school’s Bach Center at 25 Osborne in Johnstown.

The fun spoof features all the elements of a wedding reception with a twist – a murder. “This show is a great vehicle for a family friendly evening, complete with dinner and a show,” said Jean Arcurio, Bishop McCort’s theater director.

“The guests, or audience members, will get to participate in the reception fun as well as try to help solve the murder.” Wedding guests will join in dancing, catching the bridal bouquet and the garter toss, and have wedding cake for dessert. Actors will perform at various locations right among the audience, and the audience will participate in plot events. “Other actors will blend into the audience,” Arcurio said. The performance will be accompanied by a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Death Of A Doornail" at Owego UMC

Performances will be on Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd at 6:00pm at Owego United Methodist Church. Owego New York. Tickets will be $15 each in advance. Tickets will go on sale Sunday, November 5th. This year we will be presenting a hilarious comedy entitled "Death of a Doornail" by Lee Mueller.

Eccentric Millionaire, Albert Doornale has invited all of his close friends to his estate; including his ex-wife Abigail, his current fiance Candy Bombay, and his childhood friend from the lower East Side, Salvatore Carbone. Everyone arrives at the estate greeted by the grumpy butler, Mortimer and cutlery carrying cook, Mrs. Morganford. The only problem is, Albert is not there, no one has seen him. Not his nerdy nephew Edward or his socially spoiled daughter, Pricilla. None of the guests have any idea why they are there or what happened to their host. That is until blood is found in the upstairs bathroom. Was Albert killed and carried away? In the nick of time, Inspector Bukowski arrives on the scene. A murder investigation will begin, as soon as a body is found. It may be a long wait!

If you haven't you don't want to miss this one. Bring your friends and enjoy a night of fun, food, and fellowship. For more information contact the church office at 607-687-2417.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Community Art Players present "Death Of A Doornail"

Community Art Players in Salisbury Missouri will perform the murder mystery comedy "Death Of A Doornail" November 8th at 6:30pm (with dinner and dessert) and November 9th at 12:30pm (with dinner and dessert) at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Salisbury, MO. Details can be found here Community Art Players

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Basic On Stage Survival Guide For Amateur Actors" - learning the hard way is easy

Spending countless years on the amateur community theatre circuit, I have seen my share of  first time actors with sheer panic in their eyes. You see, one of the nice things about "Community Theatre" is that it is open to anyone and everyone. Experienced or not. Many times the case it not.

And since I had a plethora of productions under my belt, these acting noobies would seek me out with a multitude of questions ranging from; "What does 'Blocking' mean?", "Does stage right from my right or the audiences right?" "Why is it called upstage and where is upstage?" "How in the world do you memorize lines?" et al. Therefore, I would become the self appointed mentor to all first timers.

A few years ago the idea crossed my mind to document all the basic bits of information a first time actor would need to know to feel comfortable on the stage. A literal "Survival Guide" for the novice actor.
So I began writing what would become "The Basic On Stage Survival Guide For Amateur Actors".
As I began writing down items such as what to expect at an audition and how the rehearsal process can be a very tedious event as well putting a halt to any social life you may have had - it also occurred to me that there are many "rules" of theatre an actor must learn a long the way. Yes rules. I must say that I as an evolving stage actor learned many of the rules the hard way. Example, I recall getting a 15 minute lecture from a director because in a particular scene, a pencil rolled off a desk and remained on the stage until the act break. "If it falls, pick it up!"  There is a strange psychological dynamic with audiences - if something falls on the stage, a button pops off an actors coat and lays there, a feather from a boa floats to the floor, a pencil rolls off a desk, the eyes of the audience will focus on the thing laying on the floor until someone picks it up. Many virgin actors believe it they don't acknowledge or look at something laying on the stage, no one else will see it. Not true! Trust me. Save yourself the 15 minute lecture. If something falls, it is perfectly natural to pick it up. Don't ignore it.

There are also rules about upstaging your fellow actors; literally by standing in front of them or metaphorically by stealing focus by waving to your mom from the stage. There are rules about not turning your back and not standing in a straight line and so on and so forth. As I said, I learned these rules the hard way. When you are a brand new participant in a stage production, there isn't a rule book handed to you nor is there much time to go over everything you should know. Many directors will assume you have some basic knowledge since you are showing at the auditions but that is not always the case.

I wrote this book with all of this mind. I have to provide the most basic nuggets of information any first timer would need to know if they choose to venture into theatre. In some cases, I have worked with so called season professionals that could use some of this information. Anyway, if you are interested trying out for a local production and would like a head start in the theatre essentials - check out my book. And remember if you purchase and drop it on the floor. Pick it up!

Here is the link on Amazon Basic On Stage Survival Guide

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Talk About A Murder" in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin

Rogue Theatre in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin will present "Talk About A Murder" May 1st - 4 and added show on the 9th

Not in Wisconsin or can't attend? Then read the play - Click Here for details in paperback and Kindle 

Monday, March 17, 2014

"I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning" Brandon Manitoba

Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School Dinner Theatre in Brandon Manitoba showcases the diverse talents of our students. The dinner theatre production of "I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning" by Lee Mueller.

It takes place at the 1970s wedding reception of a wealthy debutante who has just married her fourth husband. The groom is a young man with modest roots whose recently widowed mother has become rather wealthy. However, during the boisterous reception, things take a turn for the worse and the resulting action will keep guests both laughing and in suspense. 

To accompany the entertainment, the award-winning Culinary Arts Department at Crocus Plains will be preparing a delectable three-course meal. Please inform us of any special dietary concerns when purchasing tickets.
Seating is limited to 80 guests per evening so be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the front office of Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School. Advance sales only.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Upcoming "Getting Murdered In The Morning" in Chattanooga

Getting Murdered In The Morning
Closed Door Entertainment will present "I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning" on March 14th-15th, 2014 Dinner at 7pm, Show at 7:30pm at Abba's House Faith Building in Chattanooga Tennessee. 

What's the Story? - During the garter toss at Brenda and Eddie's Wedding Reception, a mysterious man falls dead on the dance floor from a gun shot. Luckily the bride's father -the wealthy Harold Montague -invited Damage control expert Mr. Parker to the event. Parker tries "spinning" the murder as "nothing to worry about" but Society columnist Mary Berger insists "something be done". Something like - hold the presses because this could be the "Society Scandal" of the year. Not only was a man shot during the garter toss but it seems the mysterious Dead Man has ties to both the Groom and Bride's family. Secrets that both sides do not wish to reveal. None the less, with some persuasion of Mr. Parker, the reception continues as planned and the Murder Mystery takes a back seat. For a while. 
Dinner served will be Venetian-stuffed chicken, mushroom-cheddar orzo, roasted asparagus, Mediterranean salad, garlic rolls, and dessert with your choice of sweet tea, unsweet tea, and water to drink. A vegetarian option is available upon request at the time tickets are purchased.

Tickets are $22 per adult and $17 for students/seniors. Children 5 and under are free.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Upcoming Productions "Last Call At Chez Mort" Glens Falls

Glens Falls Community Theatre will be presenting “Last Call at Chez Mort,” a murder mystery dinner theater production, February 14-16 at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls New York.
The Friday and Saturday shows begin at 6 p.m. The Sunday matinees begin at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $45 per person and include dinner and the show. Tickets go on sale Monday, January 27, in the lobby of the Queensbury Hotel. Box office hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and up until show times on performance nights.

“Last Call at Chez Mort” tells the story, in flashback, of an as-yet unsolved murder years ago, when the glamorous and tres chic nightclub Chez Mort was the place to be. A detective who worked the case and the newspaper reporter who broke the story retrace their steps to determine who killed Sweet Sue, an up-and-coming performer with limited talent and unlimited ambition. The show is filled with unsavory characters and dazzling wordplay. The audience will see the action unfold through the eyes of several people, and the audience will have to determine just who is telling the truth and, ultimately, who perpetrated the dirty deed.
The cast and crew of “Last Call at Chez Mort” includes SueD’Angelico, Dave Deeb, Stacie Lucas, John Wayne Macri, GinaSidway, Shelby Rae Wellington, P. James Carrolan, and LizWinge.
The show is written by Lee Mueller and directed by Peter J.Carrolan. Glenn Dorman will serve as musical director.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day again and again

Thought I would re-post this piece since we have had nothing but snow day after snow day here in the Midwest.  This was originally posted in 2011.

It was a major coincidence that January 10th was a Snow Day here in St. Louis and I launched a New Play called "The Snow Day Monologues". No really it was.

I had been working on this One Act play for a few months now. I had been thinking the excitement I underwent as kid upon learning my school was "closed" due to "snow" and the different stages of emotions I would experience such as: joy, boredom, intrigue, cabin fever, delusions of grandeur and finally exhaustion.

I began writing from the point of view of a few characters who are stuck at home on a snow day and explored their individual thoughts as short monologues in a one-act structure. The characters eventually grew into six separate individuals; three boys and three girls and what they did to pass the time. Some would face issues or problems they had at school, others would fight boredom and try to entertain themselves and while others would use the time to reflect. There is nothing like being stuck in a confined space for a long period of time to activate the imagination.

I also wanted to create a funny yet insightful piece for young actors to interpret and explore. I've read enough grade school/high school scripts to realize there was a place for something a bit different. Many of my original Murder Mystery scripts are very popular with High School groups so why not create something funny and relevant they could relate to - that wasn't in the Murder Mystery genre?

Also instead of the standard "monologue" style where one character stands up and speaks at length for a while, why not break that convention up and spread it out? For example, as one character begins his or her monologue it then flows into another character who begins and on to another character. A common theme would tie them all together and we could jump around from one monologue to the next and experience each as a whole through various scenes. Perhaps a reflection of ever shortening attention span to which we humans are growing accustomed. Yea, anyway, I have to go shovel the driveway now.

Check out a short sample to play HERE